Friday 29 May 2020

A Week in Pictures, Middle East and Africa, May 29, 2020

Mike Hutchings’ gentle picture just speaks to me of calm. Soft light plays on the faces of the clerics waiting to catch a glimpse of the moon. This all set in an arc of light that extends from complete darkness in the top left to the highlight on the left. The figures and the horizon break the image up into classic thirds. More pictures here.  

Muslim clerics await the sighting of the moon that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan during a lockdown aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on Sea Point promenade in Cape Town, South Africa, May 23, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

A very simple picture by Khalid al-Mousily that I was drawn too and then tried to discount as not much is happening in it, but I kept coming back to it. I asked myself, why? Well there is really something quite sad about this brightly coloured merry-go-round that is devoid of children and screams of delight. More pictures here.  

A view of a deserted amusement park during the first day of Eid al-Fitr, after the government imposed a full lockdown on some areas of the city, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Baghdad, Iraq May 24, 2020. REUTERS/Khalid al-Mousily

 Amir Cohen’s picture is both very good and I think very lucky. Netanyahu supporters wave a sea of flags: whites and blues all set against a dark background. Through this whirling mass we are drawn to the focal point of the image, a single face, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. How much different this image would have been if the face was even slightly covered. Just a mass of flags and no focal point. Read on here.    

Supporters of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wave Israeli flags during a rally as Netanyahu's corruption trial opens, near the Jerusalem District Court May 24, 2020. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Luc Gnago treats us to a complex compositional zig-zag as children socially distance on their first day back at school. Boys in blue, girls in pink, evenly spaced, feet together, wearing masks to help protect them against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and all weighed down by school bags heavy with books and lunch. And if we are in any doubt where we are we see the big word SCOLAIRE – school.

Pupils, wearing protective masks, stand in line in front of the Merlan school of Paillet, observing social distancing during the reopening of schools, as the lockdown due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is eased, may 25, 2020 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. REUTERS/Luc Gnago

Putting it quite simply Muhammad Hamed has delivered a crowd pleaser. Red fireworks caught at their peak and a crescent moon set against a pitch-black sky with a hint of a smoke-covered cityscape. What’s not to like? So, enjoy it for what it is.

Fireworks light up the sky above the Abdali Boulevard, next to the crescent moon, during a celebration of the country's 74th Independence Day within a limited number of activities amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Amman, Jordan May 25, 2020. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

Hard to choose one or even two pictures from a project that has taken quite a while to pull together and involves many photographers from different countries but I have settled on pictures by Ronen Zvulun and Siphiwe Sibeko. What I especially like is that the subjects shot the picture from inside due to social distancing and I love that they have shot as they got into the spirit of the project. For Ronen’s image I like both the mix of warm and cold light created by the tungsten glow and all those busy triangles and diagonal lines in the composition. These angles echoed by Yael with her feet, the bed edge and the window framing. Read on here

A combination picture shows Yael Ben Ezer, a dancer from Israel's Batsheva Dance Company, seen through a window while she practices in her apartment, and a view that she sees from her apartment, as authorities around the world impose various guidelines on lockdowns and social distancing to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Tel Aviv, Israel May 19, 2020. When asked, what will you miss most about being in lockdown? Yael Ben Ezer, replied 'I will miss the comfortable feeling of IT'S OK. It's ok not to "do" anything, it's ok not to be "productive" in the way we usually think. Things would come and go, the sun would rise and set, and I would just be living. And that's totally enough'. Picture taken May 19, 2020. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun and Yael Ben Ezer/Handout/via REUTERS

Siphiwe Sibeko also played with shapes, but in his image ovals and circles are fighting with the harsh light. But that harsh light has helped create strong blocks of colour. And for Zodidi’s picture we are treated to a soft and warm light through the curtains.  

A combination picture shows Zodidi Desewula, a housewife from the Eastern Cape province, taking a break by reading as seen through the doorway of her one-roomed rondavel house on May 23, 2020, and a view is pictured from her house on May 24, 2020, as authorities around the world impose various guidelines on lockdowns and social distancing to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Sibanye Stillwater's women hostel in Carletonville, South Africa. When asked, what will you miss most about being in lockdown? Zodidi says there is nothing she will miss about the lockdown once it is over. To her it was torture because she and her husband were stuck in one place unable to move. She also said " Myself and my husband were stuck in this single room house unable to go to work. We were struggling in getting food to eat because there was no income". REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko and Zodidi Desewula/via REUTERS

To me, Zohra Bensemra’s picture has an element of fear in it, but I am not sure if I am projecting my own concerns for the boy or whether it’s the way it has been beautifully shot that creates this feeling. The boy is looking out from an encroaching black space that occupies almost a half of the image and looks to consume him in darkness, almost like a giant wave. The mask adds to this feeling of breathlessness and holding breath waiting for the wave. He is looking out of the window towards the light, the glass separating him from the scene, his eyes seem to be searching for someone. But if we look at all the figures outside they seem to have their backs turned and he won’t be able to see the loves one he is looking for. Read on here.

A boy looks out of a bus window as teachers prepare to board government-chartered buses to go back to schools of countryside towns, scheduled to reopen next week, amid travel bans between regions due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Dakar, Senegal May 27, 2020. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

At first glance Ahmed Jadallah’s picture looks like a lone skier coming to the end of a ski run with lots of ski lifts seen against a grey sky, the red fencing guiding him to safety. But all is not all it seems, as this is a 3D trompe l’oeil and I like the momentary visual trick until the caption is read. As Dubai slowly comes out from lockdown what better way to celebrate and get some exercise than at an indoor ski slope in a shopping mall in the desert city. 

A person wearing a protective face mask ski at Ski Dubai during the reopening of malls, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, May 28, 2020. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

 Aziz Taher is not shooting pictures at the biggest or most violent clash in his long career but for sure it is one of the first instances where he, the security forces and the protesters all need to protect themselves against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as well as the usual clashes. Those closest and face to face in the confrontation are all wearing face masks. I like the rather stylish mask the woman is wearing as she leans back from the baton that looks as if it is being raised as a warning rather than for a downward whack on exposed fingers or head.  

Demonstrators confront with riot police as they try to cross barricades on a road leading to the UNESCO Palace where Lebanon's parliament is holding a legislative session, during a protest against a controversial amnesty draft law, in Beirut Lebanon May 28, 2020. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

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